As Bullying Blossoms to Hate

“I would rather be a little nobody than to be an evil somebody” – Abraham Lincoln

Plain text box reading "Terrible things are happening outside...poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes.  Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated.  Children come home from school to find their parents have disappeared" Quote by Anne Frank, January 13, 1943." Captioned by me "Don't let your silence allow this to happen again"
Don’t let your silence allow this to happen again.

At what point do we move from an act of bullying to an act of hate? I would suggest that when we reach that point where malice and violence are a part of the inherent act then we have crossed into the territory of hate. We can generally work past the act of bullying but once in turns to hate we are stuck. We can choose to be a bully but we are “taught” to hate, it’s just easier to convert a bully into a hater.

We recently marked the one year anniversary (October 27, 2018) of the unimaginable attack on the innocent gathering at the Tree of Life synagogue. That attack on the synagogue was an act of hate and cannot be disguised as anything else.

Today they gather in Winnipeg to mark the death of three-year-old Hunter Haze Smith-Straight. A little boy who paid the price because someone had such a hate on for the child’s mother that the attacker saw this as an acceptable reaction.  Meanwhile we continue to normalize this kind of behaviour by electing people with long histories of bullying. I stopped watching the federal Question Period years ago due to Bulldog Baird and the smooth talking bitterness of Jason Kenney. If the adage “lead by example” is still applicable god help Alberta because democracy won’t.

Just recently, following month of bullying, Devan Bracci-Selvey was stabbed to death in front of his mother who was there to pick him up from school. This young fellow had been enduring bullying for months, bullying the school reportedly was aware of. Why do our institutes normalize this under the guise of “we are doing everything we can”? But then why do we normalize it by pretending these are exceptions and not the rule. Sorry it’s becoming the rule, people just don’t like to read about those things, it’s uncomfortable.

You want to know what is uncomfortable, four year old, Quinn Ross, being told by a stranger that “she shouldn’t have been born” and that she was a “drain on society”. What’s uncomfortable is the pain her mother and her 10 year old brother must have been feeling as this was screamed at Quinn. How else do you expect a 4 year old with Perthes disease to feel?

Plain text box reading "When decent behaviour towards disabled people is deemed extraordinary, you need to re-evaluate how you're conditioned to treat disabled people in the first place"

I know lots of kids with Perthes when I was growing up in the Children’s Hospital, next to polio it was probably the second largest demographic of kids in the hospital. She was so traumatized she now would rather deal with the pain of walking on disintegrating hip joints than being seen in her wheelchair. Mom reported this to the school immediately but what is becoming of this world. We keep electing “bullies” to positions of power then scratch our head when a case of bullying takes place.

I could go on with a long list of like minded issues but why.

At what point do we move past this whole “bullying” game and acknowledge the growth of hate taking place in our country. Hate is growing and, in my opinion, promoted in Alberta. I have experienced it. On Thursday October 17, 2019 I was dumped out of my wheelchair by two guys I have no doubts were “Proud Boys” white nationalists. This wasn’t late at night or in a sleazy back alley. It was 12:30pm in the middle of a Calgary park (Barb Scott Park) and these two idiots took exception to my disagreement on their apparent political hero, Andrew Scheer. This wasn’t bullying, it was a plain act of hate because they could.

It really starts to get to me when good people that I know (and probably many I don’t) skip over these types of stories because they are “depressing”. Yes they are depressing but ignoring them does not solve the problems of bullying and hate. Ignoring them so you can feel comfortable just contributes to the problem. I know too many people that like to believe these things don’t happen because to use avoidance is easier than to challenge the behaviour. Ignoring these issues is like pumping the bellows that keep the heat going.

I have friends tell me I shouldn’t have confronted these two dudes in the park, that I under-estimated the potential for danger. That’s not me. I will not turn my back on ignorance, racism, bullying or hate. Remembrance Day is a week away and I know my father fought in WW2 for the right to live freely without fear in Canada.

My dad or any of his buddies (many did not come home) did not have the luxury of deciding when and where they would take on a battle. I have been actively fighting bullying behaviour and hate for many years, I won’t stop now. I do have to wonder, at times, is anybody listening? I asked this same question eight years ago around this same time of year. Things are getting worse, not better. It may be painful but friends get your head out of the sand, quit falling for dog-whistle politicians and start speaking up.

We are experiencing political sepsis in this province and I am about to start inoculating people…


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